So here’s the hard truth. Going to church is completely necessary and not going/avoiding/making excuses/bashing/etc. church does not make you a better Christian.
So let’s get technical for a moment. No, church attendance is not necessarily “required” or “mandatory” every week. Your pastor does not have a sheet of paper calling out roll and recording attendance like the good old elementary school days. But as a believer in Christ and a follower to His true word, we should want to go every week, and feel the need to gather on Sunday to worship Him and give thanks to what He has done for us! We should have an appetite to grow in our faith and our knowledge of Him. Someone who lives for Christ should have the desire to gather with other believers, to want to worship Him and receive the Word of God.
In Matthew Chapter 28, Jesus instructs the apostles to go out and establish churches in all nations of the world, and they set out to do so in the book of Acts. The church is heavily present throughout the bible, new and old testament.
After reading a few lovely articles downplaying the importance of church and brushing it off like it’s nothing, I feel the need to comment. So back in the day, followers of Christ would gather to hear the apostles’ teachings, even if there was no designated place of worship. They gathered around in temples, buildings, in homes, and in various places. Even when people would come to hear Jesus himself, they would gather wherever he spoke, whether it be fields outside, temples, etc.
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46)
The people had still established a gathering of some sort to come together and worship the Lord. It doesn’t matter what church you go to (of course, you want to find a spiritually healthy, well balanced one). But churches are all over. They are built specifically for our people to unite and worship. We thrive off the fellowship of other Christians, and also the teachings of His word.
“We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)
So there’s all this talk about worship. Worship worship worship. How do we worship God? How do we properly worship God? Is there a proper way?
Worship comes in all different forms. A popular one however, is by singing songs of praise, more specifically singing songs of praise in church, with others. All churches vary in their worship service, some offer a choir with traditional hymns and classic worship songs. Others come with a more contemporary approach, a worship band that has a modern feel to it.
For biblical reference:
“23 Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. 24 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. 25 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. 26 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. 27 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place. 28 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength, 29 ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of hisholiness. 30 Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. 31 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!” (1 Chronicles 16:23-31)
We should join in the presence of the Lord and worship his greatness. We should have a healthy fear of Him, and make sure He knows that we honor him and thank him for all that he does for us. “Worship the Lord in the splendor of hisholiness. Tremble before him, all the earth!” Pretty powerful verses in my opinion, but they hold true as to how we should glorify Him.
Mary Fairchild made an excellent quote that sheds light on yet another reason to attend church:
“We develop the character of Christ through bearing with one another in the body of Christ.”
So what does Fairchild mean when we should learn to “develop the character of Christ?” I believe it’s to gain the important qualities of humility, respectfulness, etc, and to learn how to be giving, to be patient, to be kind, the list goes on. These traits and values are necessary to have when growing in our faith and trying our best to become better Christians. Sure, we learn the textbook definitions of these traits in school, but church can teach us to act upon them, and develop them. We exercise our spirituality and our duties as a Christian to minister to one another, and how to act amongst believers and non-believers.
Here’s a few more biblical references that I felt the need to add in. As much as I like commentary, I believe the bible is the best explanation, it truly speaks for itself.
“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.” (Isaiah 12:5)
And I’m pretty sure I’ve had Romans 12:1-2 engraved in my brain and tacked onto my fridge for years now:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)
When it says “which is your reasonable service” it means your spiritual worship.
Aside from worship, church is a place to seek knowledge, wisdom, guidance, and explanation. We can teach ourselves all we want, try to decode or translate or figure a verse out, but I feel that we learn best with support from others. Church is here to help guide us in our faith, to explore the meaning behind His word, and it’s also a place to discuss opinions and ideas with others, some thoughts that may have never occurred to us before.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)
Church offers so much support and love. The fellowship of a church can be supportive through the good, and the bad. We are a family, a unity through Christ. Joining a church can be beneficial to your life! It can offer new friends, a new perspective, new findings, and a spiritual fellowship to help in times of need, and be present in times of celebration.
Also, let us not forget that Jesus went to church!
“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” (Luke 4:16)
We attend church to get right with the Lord, pay our respects, ask for forgiveness, seek His word, honor His word, and worship Him as our true king. I believe that we will have a stronger relationship with God while actively attending and serving in church.
All in all, say no to sleeping in on Sundays, and yes to serving the Lord.
(I think I’ll create a separate post on evangelism and witnessing. I previously wanted to add it onto this one, but those topics needs it’s own separate post!)